Wed, 25 Nov 2020
HUNGERFORD Town chairman Patrick Chambers believes the decision to allow fans back to watch games will have a positive impact on the club.
So far this season, spectators have been banned from watching all ‘elite’ football fixtures live.
But Monday’s announcement that up to 4,000 fans – depending on what tier the town is in – can now attend games is, according to Chambers, great news, both on and off the field.
That means that, for the first time, supporters will be able to take a look at manager Danny Robinson’s high-flying team when they entertain Dulwich Hamlet at Bulpit Lane on December 5.
Chambers said: “This news will give the squad a lift and it could have a positive effect on the whole club.
“It will also have a big financial impact for a small club like us.
“There is a real buzz about the hardcore Hungerford fans who want to see the team in action.
“The news was unexpected – none of us had wind that fans would be allowed back.
“Normally there are whispers, but we were all thinking that it wouldn’t happen until the new year.
“It’s a real tonic for the club.”
Hungerford have been without any income from gate and bar receipts since mid-March when the National League South campaign was cut short by the coronavirus outbreak.
They did have a bail-out from the Government at the start of the season, but the news that they can start generating income again is a huge relief.
Dulwich are a well-supported club and if the town is place in Tier 1 then many fans could make the trip to see their side for the first time this season.
However, if Dulwich is placed in Tier 3, then no fans would be allowed to travel.
The Government’s decision to relax lockdown restrictions this week also means that Thatcham Town can resume their Southern League Division 1 South campaign at Slimbridge on December 12.
Manager Jamie Leacock said: “It’s great news. The players have been working hard on their own and the dedication they have shown has been great.
“The break has given us the chance to get players fit and for the first time since I took over I will have a full squad to choose from.”
All local football leagues can also start up again, along with organised grassroots sport, gyms and leisure centres.
However, in Tier 3 areas, indoor sport will be restricted and there should be no group activity such as exercise classes.
Newbury & Thatcham Hockey Club will have one training session before resuming their campaign on December 5.
Men’s first-team coach Nick Barrett said: “It’s an important thing to get back playing and while people may not be 100 per cent, it’s nice for them to be able to go out and compete.
“We have 13 teams and the social side is just as important as playing for a lot of players.”